Curated Optogenetic Publication Database

Search precisely and efficiently by using the advantage of the hand-assigned publication tags that allow you to search for papers involving a specific trait, e.g. a particular optogenetic switch or a host organism.

Showing 1 - 25 of 178 results
1.

Optogenetic tools for microbial synthetic biology.

blue green near-infrared red BLUF domains Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Biotechnol Adv, 6 Apr 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2022.107953 Link to full text
Abstract: Chemical induction is one of the most common modalities used to manipulate gene expression in living systems. However, chemical induction can be toxic or expensive that compromise the economic feasibility when it comes to industrial-scale synthetic biology applications. These complications have driven the pursuit of better induction systems. Optogenetics technique can be a solution as it not only enables dynamic control with unprecedented spatiotemporal precision but also is inexpensive and eco-friendlier. The optogenetic technique harnesses natural light-sensing modules that are genetically encodable and re-programmable in various hosts. By further engineering these modules to connect with the microbial regulatory machinery, gene expression and protein activity can be finely tuned simply through light irradiation. Recent works on applying optogenetics to microbial synthetic biology have yielded remarkable achievements. To further expand the usability of optogenetics, more optogenetic tools with greater portability that are compatible with different microbial hosts need to be developed. This review focuses on non-opsin optogenetic systems and the current state of optogenetic advancements in microbes, by showcasing the different designs and functions of optogenetic tools, followed by an insight into the optogenetic approaches used to circumvent challenges in synthetic biology.
2.

A guide to designing photocontrol in proteins: methods, strategies and applications.

blue green red Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Biol Chem, 31 Mar 2022 DOI: 10.1515/hsz-2021-0417 Link to full text
Abstract: Light is essential for various biochemical processes in all domains of life. In its presence certain proteins inside a cell are excited, which either stimulates or inhibits subsequent cellular processes. The artificial photocontrol of specifically proteins is of growing interest for the investigation of scientific questions on the organismal, cellular and molecular level as well as for the development of medicinal drugs or biocatalytic tools. For the targeted design of photocontrol in proteins, three major methods have been developed over the last decades, which employ either chemical engineering of small-molecule photosensitive effectors (photopharmacology), incorporation of photoactive non-canonical amino acids by genetic code expansion (photoxenoprotein engineering), or fusion with photoreactive biological modules (hybrid protein optogenetics). This review compares the different methods as well as their strategies and current applications for the light-regulation of proteins and provides background information useful for the implementation of each technique.
3.

Optical control of protein delivery and partitioning in the nucleolus.

blue AsLOV2 CRY2/CRY2 HeLa Organelle manipulation
Nucleic Acids Res, 23 Mar 2022 DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkac191 Link to full text
Abstract: The nucleolus is a subnuclear membraneless compartment intimately involved in ribosomal RNA synthesis, ribosome biogenesis and stress response. Multiple optogenetic devices have been developed to manipulate nuclear protein import and export, but molecular tools tailored for remote control over selective targeting or partitioning of cargo proteins into subnuclear compartments capable of phase separation are still limited. Here, we report a set of single-component photoinducible nucleolus-targeting tools, designated pNUTs, to enable rapid and reversible nucleoplasm-to-nucleolus shuttling, with the half-lives ranging from milliseconds to minutes. pNUTs allow both global protein infiltration into nucleoli and local delivery of cargoes into the outermost layer of the nucleolus, the granular component. When coupled with the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-associated C9ORF72 proline/arginine-rich dipeptide repeats, pNUTs allow us to photomanipulate poly-proline-arginine nucleolar localization, perturb nucleolar protein nucleophosmin 1 and suppress nascent protein synthesis. pNUTs thus expand the optogenetic toolbox by permitting light-controllable interrogation of nucleolar functions and precise induction of ALS-associated toxicity in cellular models.
4.

Optogenetic actuator/ERK biosensor circuits identify MAPK network nodes that shape ERK dynamics.

blue CRY2/CRY2 iLID NIH/3T3 Signaling cascade control
bioRxiv, 21 Mar 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2021.07.27.453955 Link to full text
Abstract: Combining single-cell measurements of ERK activity dynamics with perturbations provides insights into the MAPK network topology. We built circuits consisting of an optogenetic actuator to activate MAPK signaling and an ERK biosensor to measure single-cell ERK dynamics. This allowed us to conduct RNAi screens to investigate the role of 50 MAPK proteins in ERK dynamics. We found that the MAPK network is robust against most node perturbations. We observed that the ERK-RAF and the ERK-RSK2-SOS negative feedbacks operate simultaneously to regulate ERK dynamics. Bypassing the RSK2-mediated feedback, either by direct optogenetic activation of RAS, or by RSK2 perturbation, sensitized ERK dynamics to further perturbations. Similarly, targeting this feedback in a human ErbB2-dependent oncogenic signaling model increased the efficiency of a MEK inhibitor. The RSK2-mediated feedback is thus important for the ability of the MAPK network to produce consistent ERK outputs and its perturbation can enhance the efficiency of MAPK inhibitors.
5.

The rate of information transmission through the MAPK/ERK signaling pathway stimulated in a pulsatile manner.

blue CRY2/CRY2 MCF10A Signaling cascade control
bioRxiv, 19 Mar 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2022.03.17.484713 Link to full text
Abstract: Many intracellular signaling pathways, including the MAPK/ERK cascade, respond to an external stimulus in a yes-or-no manner. This has been reflected in estimates of the amount of information a single cell can transmit about the amplitude of an applied (and sustained) input signal, which turns out to only slightly exceed 1 bit. More information, however, can potentially be transmitted in response to time-varying stimulation. In this work, we find a lower bound of the MAPK/ERK signaling channel capacity. We use an epithelial cell line expressing an ERK activity reporter and an optogenetically modified fibroblast growth factor receptor, which allows triggering eventual ERK activity by short light pulses. We observe that it is possible to reconstruct the stimulatory input pattern with five-minute delay and one-minute resolution. By stimulating the cells with random pulse trains we demonstrate that the information transmission rate through the MAPK/ERK pathway can exceed 6 bits per hour. Such high information transmission rate allows the MAPK/ERK pathway to coordinate multiple processes including cell movement.
6.

CRY-BARs: Versatile light-gated molecular tools for the remodeling of membrane architectures.

blue CRY2/CRY2 HEK293T primary mouse cortical neurons Control of cytoskeleton / cell motility / cell shape Transgene expression Neuronal activity control
bioRxiv, 17 Mar 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2022.01.28.478241 Link to full text
Abstract: BAR (Bin, Amphiphysin and Rvs) protein domains are responsible for the generation of membrane curvature and represent a critical mechanical component of cellular functions. Thus, BAR domains have great potential as components of membrane-remodeling tools for cell biologists. In this work, we describe the design and implementation of a family of versatile light-gated I-BAR domain containing tools (CRY-BARs) with applications in the remodeling of membrane architectures and the control of cellular dynamics. By taking advantage of the intrinsic membrane binding propensity of the I-BAR domain, CRY-BARs can be used for spatial and temporal control of cellular processes that require induction of membrane protrusions. Using cell lines and primary neuron cultures, we demonstrate that the CRY-BAR optogenetic tool reports membrane dynamic changes associated with cellular activity. Moreover, we provide evidence that Ezrin acts as a relay between the plasma membrane and the actin cytoskeleton and therefore is an important mediator of switch function. Overall, CRY-BARs hold promise as a useful addition to the optogenetic toolkit to study membrane remodeling in live cells.
7.

LITOS - a versatile LED illumination tool for optogenetic stimulation.

blue CRY2/CRY2 MCF10A NIH/3T3
bioRxiv, 2 Mar 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2022.03.02.482623 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics has become a key tool to manipulate biological processes with high spatio-temporal resolution. Recently, a number of commercial and open-source multi-well illumination devices have been developed to provide throughput in optogenetics experiments. However, available commercial devices remain expensive and lack flexibility, while open-source solutions require programming knowledge and/or include complex assembly processes. We present a LED Illumination Tool for Optogenetic Stimulation (LITOS) based on an assembled printed circuit board controlling a commercially available 32x64 LED matrix as illumination source. LITOS can be quickly assembled without any soldering, and includes an easy-to-use interface, accessible via a website hosted on the device itself. Complex light stimulation patterns can easily be programmed without coding expertise. LITOS can be used with different formats of multi-well plates, petri dishes, and flasks. We validated LITOS by measuring the activity of the MAPK/ERK signaling pathway in response to different dynamic light stimulation regimes using FGFR1 and Raf optogenetic actuators. LITOS can uniformly stimulate all the cells in a well and allows for flexible temporal stimulation schemes. LITOS’s ease of use aims at democratizing optogenetics in any laboratory.
8.

Optogenetics Illuminates Applications in Microbial Engineering.

blue green red UV violet BLUF domains Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Annu Rev Chem Biomol Eng, 23 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.1146/annurev-chembioeng-092120-092340 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics has been used in a variety of microbial engineering applications, such as chemical and protein production, studies of cell physiology, and engineered microbe-host interactions. These diverse applications benefit from the precise spatiotemporal control that light affords, as well as its tunability, reversibility, and orthogonality. This combination of unique capabilities has enabled a surge of studies in recent years investigating complex biological systems with completely new approaches. We briefly describe the optogenetic tools that have been developed for microbial engineering, emphasizing the scientific advancements that they have enabled. In particular, we focus on the unique benefits and applications of implementing optogenetic control, from bacterial therapeutics to cybergenetics. Finally, we discuss future research directions, with special attention given to the development of orthogonal multichromatic controls. With an abundance of advantages offered by optogenetics, the future is bright in microbial engineering. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Volume 13 is October 2022. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
9.

A variety of photoreceptors and the frontiers of optogenetics.

blue red Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Biophys physicobiology, 9 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.2142/biophysico.bppb-v19.0004 Link to full text
Abstract: Lives have acquired a variety of photoreceptive proteins which absorb light in the UV to far-red region during the evolution, such as many different types of rhodopsin, blue-light receptors including cryptochrome and phototropin, and red/far-red light photochromic phytochromes. After the long-time studies on the molecular mechanism of their action, they have been applied to various photobiological studies. Recent advancement in the research field is remarkable and brought many fruitful results especially in optogenetics. To introduce some of these results, we organized a symposium named “A variety of photoreceptors and the frontiers of optogenetics” at the 59th annual meeting of the Biological Society of Japan (BSJ) in November 2021. The symposium was co-organized by a research area of the Precursory Research for Embryonic Science and Technology Program (PRESTO) named “Optical Control”, directed by Prof. Shichida (Ritsumeikan University), sponsored by Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). We invited 4 PRESTO members and 2 other researchers to cover the light absorption region from blue to far-red (Figure 1).
10.

New developments in the biology of fibroblast growth factors.

blue Cryptochromes LOV domains Review
WIREs Mech Dis, 9 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.1002/wsbm.1549 Link to full text
Abstract: The fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family is composed of 18 secreted signaling proteins consisting of canonical FGFs and endocrine FGFs that activate four receptor tyrosine kinases (FGFRs 1-4) and four intracellular proteins (intracellular FGFs or iFGFs) that primarily function to regulate the activity of voltage-gated sodium channels and other molecules. The canonical FGFs, endocrine FGFs, and iFGFs have been reviewed extensively by us and others. In this review, we briefly summarize past reviews and then focus on new developments in the FGF field since our last review in 2015. Some of the highlights in the past 6 years include the use of optogenetic tools, viral vectors, and inducible transgenes to experimentally modulate FGF signaling, the clinical use of small molecule FGFR inhibitors, an expanded understanding of endocrine FGF signaling, functions for FGF signaling in stem cell pluripotency and differentiation, roles for FGF signaling in tissue homeostasis and regeneration, a continuing elaboration of mechanisms of FGF signaling in development, and an expanding appreciation of roles for FGF signaling in neuropsychiatric diseases. This article is categorized under: Cardiovascular Diseases > Molecular and Cellular Physiology Neurological Diseases > Molecular and Cellular Physiology Congenital Diseases > Stem Cells and Development Cancer > Stem Cells and Development.
11.

Oncogenic protein condensates modulate cell signal perception and drug tolerance.

blue CRY2/CRY2 iLID H3122 STE-1 Signaling cascade control
bioRxiv, 4 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2022.02.02.478845 Link to full text
Abstract: Drug resistance remains a central challenge towards durable cancer therapy, including for cancers driven by the EML4-ALK oncogene. EML4-ALK and related fusion oncogenes form cytoplasmic protein condensates that transmit oncogenic signals through the Ras/Erk pathway. However, whether such condensates play a role in drug response or resistance development is unclear. Here, we applied optogenetic functional profiling to examine how EML4-ALK condensates impact signal transmission through transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), a common route of resistance signaling. We found that condensates dramatically suppress signaling through activated RTKs including EGFR. Conversely, ALK inhibition restored and hypersensitized RTK signals. Modulation of RTK sensitivity occurred because EML4-ALK condensates sequestered downstream adapters that are required to transduce signals from both EML4-ALK and ligand-stimulated RTKs. Strikingly, EGFR hypersensitization resulted in rapid and pulsatile Erk signal reactivation within 10s of minutes of drug addition. EGFR reactivation originated from paracrine signals from neighboring apoptotic cells, and reactivation could be blocked by inhibition of either EGFR or matrix metalloproteases. Paracrine signals promoted survival during ALK inhibition, and blockade of paracrine signals accelerated cell killing and suppressed drug tolerance. Our results uncover a regulatory role for protein condensates in cancer signaling and drug response and demonstrate the potential of optogenetic profiling for drug discovery based on functional biomarkers in cancer cells.
12.

Nucleation of the destruction complex on the centrosome accelerates degradation of β-catenin and regulates Wnt signal transmission.

blue CRY2/CRY2 HEK293T hESCs Signaling cascade control
bioRxiv, 3 Feb 2022 DOI: 10.1101/2022.02.01.478717 Link to full text
Abstract: Wnt signal transduction is mediated by a protein assembly called the Destruction Complex (DC) made from scaffold proteins and kinases that are essential for transducing extracellular Wnt ligand concentrations to changes in nuclear β-catenin, the pathway’s transcriptional effector. Recently, DC scaffold proteins have been shown to undergo liquid-liquid phase separation in vivo and in vitro providing evidence for a mesoscale organization of the DC. However, the mesoscale organization of DC at endogenous expression levels and how that organization could play a role in β-catenin processing is unknown. Here we find that the native mesoscale structure is a dynamic biomolecular condensate nucleated by the centrosome. Through a combination of advanced microscopy, CRISPR-engineered custom fluorescent tags, finite element simulations, and optogenetic tools, that allow for independent manipulation of the biophysical parameters that drive condensate formation, we find that a function of DC nucleation by the centrosome is to drive efficient processing of β-catenin by co-localizing DC components to a single reaction hub. We demonstrate that simply increasing the concentration of a single DC kinase onto the centrosome controls β-catenin processing. This simple change in localization completely alters the fate of the Wnt-driven human embryonic stem cell differentiation to mesoderm. Our findings demonstrate the role of nucleators in dynamically controlling the activities of biomolecular condensates and suggest a tight integration between cell cycle progression and Wnt signal transduction.
13.

Optophysiology: Illuminating cell physiology with optogenetics.

blue cyan green near-infrared red UV violet BLUF domains Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Physiol Rev, 24 Jan 2022 DOI: 10.1152/physrev.00021.2021 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics combines light and genetics to enable precise control of living cells, tissues, and organisms with tailored functions. Optogenetics has the advantages of noninvasiveness, rapid responsiveness, tunable reversibility, and superior spatiotemporal resolution. Following the initial discovery of microbial opsins as light-actuated ion channels, a plethora of naturally occurring or engineered photoreceptors or photosensitive domains that respond to light at varying wavelengths has ushered in the next chapter of optogenetics. Through protein engineering and synthetic biology approaches, genetically encoded photoswitches can be modularly engineered into protein scaffolds or host cells to control a myriad of biological processes, as well as to enable behavioral control and disease intervention in vivo. Here, we summarize these optogenetic tools on the basis of their fundamental photochemical properties to better inform the chemical basis and design principles. We also highlight exemplary applications of opsin-free optogenetics in dissecting cellular physiology (designated "optophysiology") and describe the current progress, as well as future trends, in wireless optogenetics, which enables remote interrogation of physiological processes with minimal invasiveness. This review is anticipated to spark novel thoughts on engineering next-generation optogenetic tools and devices that promise to accelerate both basic and translational studies.
14.

Wnt Signaling Rescues Amyloid Beta-Induced Gut Stem Cell Loss.

blue CRY2/CRY2 D. melanogaster in vivo Signaling cascade control
Cells, 14 Jan 2022 DOI: 10.3390/cells11020281 Link to full text
Abstract: Patients with Alzheimer's disease suffer from a decrease in brain mass and a prevalence of amyloid-β plaques. These plaques are thought to play a role in disease progression, but their exact role is not entirely established. We developed an optogenetic model to induce amyloid-β intracellular oligomerization to model distinct disease etiologies. Here, we examine the effect of Wnt signaling on amyloid in an optogenetic, Drosophila gut stem cell model. We observe that Wnt activation rescues the detrimental effects of amyloid expression and oligomerization. We analyze the gene expression changes downstream of Wnt that contribute to this rescue and find changes in aging related genes, protein misfolding, metabolism, and inflammation. We propose that Wnt expression reduces inflammation through repression of Toll activating factors. We confirm that chronic Toll activation reduces lifespan, but a decrease in the upstream activator Persephone extends it. We propose that the protective effect observed for lithium treatment functions, at least in part, through Wnt activation and the inhibition of inflammation.
15.

Towards translational optogenetics.

blue cyan red UV Cryptochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Nat Biomed Eng, 13 Jan 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41551-021-00829-3 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics is widely used to interrogate the neural circuits underlying disease and has most recently been harnessed for therapeutic applications. The optogenetic toolkit consists of light-responsive proteins that modulate specific cellular functions, vectors for the delivery of the transgenes that encode the light-responsive proteins to targeted cellular populations, and devices for the delivery of light of suitable wavelengths at effective fluence rates. A refined toolkit with a focus towards translational uses would include efficient and safer viral and non-viral gene-delivery vectors, increasingly red-shifted photoresponsive proteins, nanomaterials that efficiently transduce near-infrared light deep into tissue, and wireless implantable light-delivery devices that allow for spatiotemporally precise interventions at clinically relevant tissue depths. In this Review, we examine the current optogenetics toolkit and the most notable preclinical and translational uses of optogenetics, and discuss future methodological and translational developments and bottlenecks.
16.

Optogenetic activation of intracellular signaling based on light-inducible protein-protein homo-interactions.

blue red Cryptochromes LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Neural Regen Res, Jan 2022 DOI: 10.4103/1673-5374.314293 Link to full text
Abstract: Dynamic protein-protein interactions are essential for proper cell functioning. Homo-interaction events-physical interactions between the same type of proteins-represent a pivotal subset of protein-protein interactions that are widely exploited in activating intracellular signaling pathways. Capacities of modulating protein-protein interactions with spatial and temporal resolution are greatly desired to decipher the dynamic nature of signal transduction mechanisms. The emerging optogenetic technology, based on genetically encoded light-sensitive proteins, provides promising opportunities to dissect the highly complex signaling networks with unmatched specificity and spatiotemporal precision. Here we review recent achievements in the development of optogenetic tools enabling light-inducible protein-protein homo-interactions and their applications in optical activation of signaling pathways.
17.

Substratum stiffness regulates Erk signaling dynamics through receptor-level control.

blue CRY2/CRY2 iLID MCF10A Signaling cascade control
Cell Rep, 28 Dec 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.110181 Link to full text
Abstract: The EGFR/Erk pathway is triggered by extracellular ligand stimulation, leading to stimulus-dependent dynamics of pathway activity. Although mechanical properties of the microenvironment also affect Erk activity, their effects on Erk signaling dynamics are poorly understood. Here, we characterize how the stiffness of the underlying substratum affects Erk signaling dynamics in mammary epithelial cells. We find that soft microenvironments attenuate Erk signaling, both at steady state and in response to epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulation. Optogenetic manipulation at multiple signaling nodes reveals that intracellular signal transmission is largely unaffected by substratum stiffness. Instead, we find that soft microenvironments decrease EGF receptor (EGFR) expression and alter the amount and spatial distribution of EGF binding at cell membranes. Our data demonstrate that the mechanical microenvironment tunes Erk signaling dynamics via receptor-ligand interactions, underscoring how multiple microenvironmental signals are jointly processed through a highly conserved pathway that regulates tissue development, homeostasis, and disease progression.
18.

Stress ball morphogenesis: How the lizard builds its lung.

blue CRY2/CRY2 C2C12 Immediate control of second messengers
Sci Adv, 22 Dec 2021 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abk0161 Link to full text
Abstract: The function of the lung is closely coupled to its structural anatomy, which varies greatly across vertebrates. Although architecturally simple, a complex pattern of airflow is thought to be achieved in the lizard lung due to its cavernous central lumen and honeycomb-shaped wall. We find that the wall of the lizard lung is generated from an initially smooth epithelial sheet, which is pushed through holes in a hexagonal smooth muscle meshwork by forces from fluid pressure, similar to a stress ball. Combining transcriptomics with time-lapse imaging reveals that the hexagonal meshwork self-assembles in response to circumferential and axial stresses downstream of pressure. A computational model predicts the pressure-driven changes in epithelial topology, which we probe using optogenetically driven contraction of 3D-printed engineered muscle. These results reveal the physical principles used to sculpt the unusual architecture of the lizard lung, which could be exploited as a novel strategy to engineer tissues.
19.

Temperature-responsive optogenetic probes of cell signaling.

blue BcLOV4 CRY2/CRY2 iLID HEK293T NIH/3T3 Schneider 2 zebrafish in vivo Signaling cascade control
Nat Chem Biol, 22 Dec 2021 DOI: 10.1038/s41589-021-00917-0 Link to full text
Abstract: We describe single-component optogenetic probes whose activation dynamics depend on both light and temperature. We used the BcLOV4 photoreceptor to stimulate Ras and phosphatidyl inositol-3-kinase signaling in mammalian cells, allowing activation over a large dynamic range with low basal levels. Surprisingly, we found that BcLOV4 membrane translocation dynamics could be tuned by both light and temperature such that membrane localization spontaneously decayed at elevated temperatures despite constant illumination. Quantitative modeling predicted BcLOV4 activation dynamics across a range of light and temperature inputs and thus provides an experimental roadmap for BcLOV4-based probes. BcLOV4 drove strong and stable signal activation in both zebrafish and fly cells, and thermal inactivation provided a means to multiplex distinct blue-light sensitive tools in individual mammalian cells. BcLOV4 is thus a versatile photosensor with unique light and temperature sensitivity that enables straightforward generation of broadly applicable optogenetic tools.
20.

Directed evolution approaches for optogenetic tool development.

blue green near-infrared red Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes Fluorescent proteins LOV domains Phytochromes Review
Biochem Soc Trans, 17 Dec 2021 DOI: 10.1042/bst20210700 Link to full text
Abstract: Photoswitchable proteins enable specific molecular events occurring in complex biological settings to be probed in a rapid and reversible fashion. Recent progress in the development of photoswitchable proteins as components of optogenetic tools has been greatly facilitated by directed evolution approaches in vitro, in bacteria, or in yeast. We review these developments and suggest future directions for this rapidly advancing field.
21.

Formation of nuclear condensates by the Mediator complex subunit Med15 in mammalian cells.

blue CRY2/CRY2 NIH/3T3 Organelle manipulation
BMC Biol, 17 Nov 2021 DOI: 10.1186/s12915-021-01178-y Link to full text
Abstract: The Mediator complex is an evolutionarily conserved multi-subunit protein complex that plays major roles in transcriptional activation and is essential for cell growth, proliferation, and differentiation. Recent studies revealed that some Mediator subunits formed nuclear condensates that may facilitate enhancer-promoter interactions and gene activation. The assembly, regulation, and functions of these nuclear condensates remain to be further understood.
22.

Aberrant Phase Separation of FUS Leads to Lysosome Sequestering and Acidification.

blue CRY2/CRY2 HEK293 Organelle manipulation
Front Cell Dev Biol, 22 Oct 2021 DOI: 10.3389/fcell.2021.716919 Link to full text
Abstract: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to the death of upper and lower motor neurons. While most cases of ALS are sporadic, some of the familial forms of the disease are caused by mutations in the gene encoding for the RNA-binding protein FUS. Under physiological conditions, FUS readily phase separates into liquid-like droplets in vivo and in vitro. ALS-associated mutations interfere with this process and often result in solid-like aggregates rather than fluid condensates. Yet, whether cells recognize and triage aberrant condensates remains poorly understood, posing a major barrier to the development of novel ALS treatments. Using a combination of ALS-associated FUS mutations, optogenetic manipulation of FUS condensation, chemically induced stress, and pH-sensitive reporters of organelle acidity, we systematically characterized the cause-effect relationship between the material state of FUS condensates and the sequestering of lysosomes. From our data, we can derive three conclusions. First, regardless of whether we use wild-type or mutant FUS, expression levels (i.e., high concentrations) play a dominant role in determining the fraction of cells having soluble or aggregated FUS. Second, chemically induced FUS aggregates recruit LAMP1-positive structures. Third, mature, acidic lysosomes accumulate only at FUS aggregates but not at liquid-condensates. Together, our data suggest that lysosome-degradation machinery actively distinguishes between fluid and solid condensates. Unraveling these aberrant interactions and testing strategies to manipulate the autophagosome-lysosome axis provides valuable clues for disease intervention.
23.

The Red Edge: Bilin-Binding Photoreceptors as Optogenetic Tools and Fluorescence Reporters.

blue green near-infrared red UV violet BLUF domains Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Chem Rev, 20 Oct 2021 DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.1c00194 Link to full text
Abstract: This review adds the bilin-binding phytochromes to the Chemical Reviews thematic issue "Optogenetics and Photopharmacology". The work is structured into two parts. We first outline the photochemistry of the covalently bound tetrapyrrole chromophore and summarize relevant spectroscopic, kinetic, biochemical, and physiological properties of the different families of phytochromes. Based on this knowledge, we then describe the engineering of phytochromes to further improve these chromoproteins as photoswitches and review their employment in an ever-growing number of different optogenetic applications. Most applications rely on the light-controlled complex formation between the plant photoreceptor PhyB and phytochrome-interacting factors (PIFs) or C-terminal light-regulated domains with enzymatic functions present in many bacterial and algal phytochromes. Phytochrome-based optogenetic tools are currently implemented in bacteria, yeast, plants, and animals to achieve light control of a wide range of biological activities. These cover the regulation of gene expression, protein transport into cell organelles, and the recruitment of phytochrome- or PIF-tagged proteins to membranes and other cellular compartments. This compilation illustrates the intrinsic advantages of phytochromes compared to other photoreceptor classes, e.g., their bidirectional dual-wavelength control enabling instant ON and OFF regulation. In particular, the long wavelength range of absorption and fluorescence within the "transparent window" makes phytochromes attractive for complex applications requiring deep tissue penetration or dual-wavelength control in combination with blue and UV light-sensing photoreceptors. In addition to the wide variability of applications employing natural and engineered phytochromes, we also discuss recent progress in the development of bilin-based fluorescent proteins.
24.

Optogenetic strategies for the control of gene expression in yeasts.

blue green near-infrared red UV violet BLUF domains Cobalamin-binding domains Cryptochromes Cyanobacteriochromes LOV domains Phytochromes UV receptors Review
Biotechnol Adv, 28 Sep 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2021.107839 Link to full text
Abstract: Optogenetics involves the use of light to control cellular functions and has become increasingly popular in various areas of research, especially in the precise control of gene expression. While this technology is already well established in neurobiology and basic research, its use in bioprocess development is still emerging. Some optogenetic switches have been implemented in yeasts for different purposes, taking advantage of a wide repertoire of biological parts and relatively easy genetic manipulation. In this review, we cover the current strategies used for the construction of yeast strains to be used in optogenetically controlled protein or metabolite production, as well as the operational aspects to be considered for the scale-up of this type of process. Finally, we discuss the main applications of optogenetic switches in yeast systems and highlight the main advantages and challenges of bioprocess development considering future directions for this field.
25.

Wnt signaling rescues amyloid beta induced stem cell loss.

blue CRY2/CRY2 D. melanogaster in vivo Signaling cascade control Developmental processes
bioRxiv, 6 Sep 2021 DOI: 10.1101/2021.09.06.459094 Link to full text
Abstract: Previously, we established an optogenetic model to induce Amyloid-β intracellular oligomerization to model distinct disease etiologies (Lim et al. 2020). Here we examine the effect of Wnt signaling on Amyloid in this model. We observe that Wnt activation rescues the detrimental effects of Amyloid expression and oligomerization. We analyze the gene expression changes downstream of Wnt that contribute to this rescue and find changes in aging related genes, protein misfolding, metabolism and inflammation. We propose that Wnt expression reduces inflammation through repression of Toll activating factors and confirm that chronic Toll activation reduces lifespan. We propose that the protective effect observed for Lithium treatment functions at least in part through Wnt activation and inhibition of inflammation.
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